Symposium: The Changing Nature of the Mississippi River

The Great River Passage is partnering with the Science Museum of Minnesota to host a conversation with local and national experts about the evolving Mississippi River and collaborative approaches to bringing the river to the forefront of our civic life.

Following COVID-19 guidance from local, state and federal officials, the Symposium will be postponed till further notice.

Symposium: The Changing Nature of the Mississippi River
Science Museum of Minnesota

April 23, 2020 (Postponed)

Questions: [email protected]


The Mississippi River is a dynamic river. We have the opportunity take the lead, break the status quo and develop a comprehensive approach to connecting with and stewarding the river.

To advance our collective opportunity, we are bringing together a series of local and national experts to the forefront of the conversation on our changing river to address a forward thinking, integrated agenda that will:

  • Build our awareness and agency upstream
  • Center and celebrate Saint Paul’s 17 miles of river
  • Frame our responsibility to the communities down river

We seek to address the questions: How is the river changing? How is our use of the river changing? How is climate change effecting river change? How is our relationship/perspective to the river changing?

Morning session

(9-12 a.m.)

The morning session includes sessions from a series of experts on the themes of water/ecology, infrastructure/industry, culture/social and economy/business.

Derek Hoeferlin, AIA, Principal, [dhd] derek hoeferlin design
Presentation: Way Beyond Bigness: The Need for a Watershed Architecture

Pat Hamilton, Director of Global Change Initiatives, Science Museum of Minnesota
Presentation: Upstream

Dr. Shawn Schottler, Senior Scientist, St. Croix Watershed Research Station-Science Museum of Minnesota
Presentation: Butterflies, Blue-greens, Kilowatts and Calories: Making good long-term choices.

Megan Moore, LTRM Field Station Team Supervisor/Mississippi River Coordinator Minnesota DNR 
Presentation: Long-Term Ecological Trends on the Upper Mississippi River: Implications of Climate Change

Nanette M. Bischoff, P.E. Army Corps of Engineers, Project Manager/FERC Coordinator
Presentation: Corps of Engineers Disposition Study – Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock

Vincente M Diaz, Professor of American Indian Studies, University of Minnesota and                            James Rock, Director of Indigenous Programming, Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium, University Minnesota Duluth

Presentation: Oceania In, Above, and Along the Mississippi River

Afternoon session

(1-4 p.m.)

The afternoon session will examine the Mississippi River through case studies from cities along the full length of the river.

Moderator: Mark Johnson (Civitas, Principal)

Case Studies:

St Cloud, Minnesota: Lisa Vollbrecht, Assistant Public Utilities Director, City of St. Cloud

Case Study: First Sip: Public Utilities Integrated with Mississippi River


Twin Cities, Minnesota: Mary deLaittre, Executive Director, Great River Passage Conservancy

Case Study: Building the River Capital


Prairie Island Indian Community: Shelley Buck, President, and Blake Johnson, Prairie Island Indian Community

Case Study: Prairie Island Indian Community Net Zero Project and Emergency Planning


Memphis, Tennessee: George Abbott, Director of External Affairs and Helen Hope, Program Associate, Memphis River Parks

Case Study:  Building a riverfront that works for everyone in Memphis, Tennessee


New Orleans, Louisiana: Diane Allen Jones, D. Eng., FASLA is Director of Program in Landscape Architecture, University of Texas Arlington, and Principal Landscape Architect for DesignJones, LLC.

Case Study: New Orleans Redevelopment Authority Community Adaptation Project
(NORACAP): Recovery from the impacts of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO)


Closing Speaker:
Kara Lankford Fox, Director, Gulf Coast Restoration National Audubon Society

Presentation: Audubon’s Vision: Restoring the Gulf of Mexico for Birds and People

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